The vehicles on the road today, for the most part, are driven by the internal combustion engine. While many of us think this is the way it’s always been, the electric vehicle has been in existence since approximately 1830, when an inventor from Scotland was able to move his buggy with an electric motor and galvanic cells. The batteries were not rechargeable, but he was able to move a short distance. At the turn of the century, electric cars were being produced but were not as popular due to price, electrical availability, and range. It was easier for a driver to take extra gasoline along than to charge his batteries. Especially when most of the population lived out of the cities at that time.
Currently, electric vehicles come in the form of cars, trucks, trains, boats and submarines. While powering many different vehicles, we’re going to concentrate on cars and light trucks. I’ve heard a businessman say, that to disrupt an industry, the product has to be “better than” whatever it’s replacing, which makes a lot of sense.
In 2016 Electric vehicles (EV) made up 2% of the vehicles here in the USA. The outlook is for that to rise to 22% by 2030. With the big dollars that are being invested into the market, a lot of people and companies are betting our future is about to change. We may be telling our children and grandkids one day what it was like to fill up the gas tank at a gas station.
Volkswagen has very high hopes and ambition as far as the traditional car manufacturers today. They plan to launch 70 battery powered vehicles in the next 10 years. Volkswagen also set the goal of selling 22 million of them. With their original goal being 25% of their vehicles being electric by 2025 they had to reevaluate and reset the goal to 10%.
Just lately, Ford Motors announced that they agreed to invest 500 million dollars in Rivian, an EV truck company. Rivian designed, and is building, a truck that on a full charge can tow 10,000 lbs. and has a range of 400 miles. The vehicle is built on a "cassette" type battery. The cassette means the wheels, suspension and drivetrain will be interchangeable with different body styles. This also makes that part of the vehicle very versatile for future opportunities. Rivian Trucks ore out of Plymouth, MI and the vehicles are to be built in Normal, IL with people hoping to take delivery by 2020. The reason this is such big news is, Amazon is also looking to partner with them to raise up to 700 million dollars. Amazon did not commit to 700 million but is part of raising that much.
Tesla Motors is in the news a lot lately. No other EV company has moved the bar as far and fast as they have. They have not only increased the range of the vehicle, but took it to a new level with creature comforts and amenities. They took what was typically a boxy, unattractive vehicle and made it very sporty. The company has also rewritten how vehicles are bought and delivered to the customer. The Tesla Model 3 starts at $ 39,000.00, making it an affordable car. While the company has rewritten the "rules" in the EV world, their success will be built on the Model 3 and pumping those vehicles out.
General Motors just released that they’re going to invest 300 million dollars into and Orion Township plant, retooling it for EV. They’ve also announced that Cadillac will be their lead brand on bringing EVs to the market. As of this writing, General Motors plans to sell their Lordstown, OH plant to Workhorse where they will be building electric trucks.
So, what’s the direction of today's EV? A lot of people have different opinions. Tony Serba "by 2025 all new vehicles will be electric." Joel Couse, Total Energy Chief Energy Economist " EVs will make up 15 to 30 percent of new vehicles by 2030."
There are many different forecasts on what’s going to happen. A lot depends on political and economic reasons for advancing the EV. One thing is for sure, the electric vehicles are here to stay. When it becomes "better than" we will all own one.